The Albert W. Moore Leadership Award was created by AMT to recognize outstanding contributions to its membership and manufacturing technology. This year’s recipient, Richard G. “Rick” Kline Sr., has spent his life in the industry impacting a generation of manufacturers.
In the words of Rick, “I was a young Modern Machine Shop representative calling on the Detroit auto industry in the 1960s, which was the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising.” As the grandson of company founder Don Gardner, Kline Sr. could have fulfilled the cliché about family businesses: the first generation makes it, the second generation maintains it, and the third generation kills it. Instead, he thrived. “With all the industry purchasing agents and automotive ad agencies, it was a tough market to be in, but it was a great market because it made me prove myself.”
Under his leadership as chairman and CEO, Gardner Business Media (GBM) has become a preeminent publisher of manufacturing technology magazines that reaches beyond the United States and has expanded its influence as a media provider to connect with audiences in a variety of ways. Kline Sr. has grown the company to about 120 people, producing eight English-language publications and three publications for the Mexican market, as well as becoming an industry digital content leader, diversifying its products with Gardner Intelligence reports and in-person industry events.
Moreover, Kline Sr. has ensured that the next two generations understand what it means to be a leader. These include son Rick Kline Jr., GBM president; daughter Melissa Kline Skavlem, GBM chief marketing officer; as well as a niece, a nephew, and grandchildren, all active participants in the future of GBM.
“I joke and say you have to pick your kids and grandchildren very carefully,” says Kline Sr. “Seriously, I tell our family that the ethic and effort they exhibit will become models for the company."
"Rick Kline Sr. is one of those rare individuals whose impact on the industry is hard to measure but unquestionably profound,” says Doug Woods, AMT president. “His vision helped advance the manufacturing industry – amplifying its value to the well-being and prosperity of future generations. To recognize his lifetime dedication to themanufacturing technology community, AMT is honored to present him with its Albert W. Moore Leadership Award.”
Kline Sr. is quick to shine light on others. One of the not-so-secrets to GBM’s success is “hiring people who are smarter than we are and not getting in the way of good people.” During the early days of his leadership in the 1970s, he cites Modern Machine Shop editor Ken Gettleman for pushing more coverage of international developments and numerical control.
At the time, Kline Sr. recalls how the machine tool industry was provincially American. They became complacent, prideful, lost their way, “and overseas competitors ate our lunch. That was when Modern Machine Shop started to become a thought leader. We’re still doing it that way today, helping people navigate technologies such as automation and additive manufacturing. If we keep producing content that people want and doing good things for each other, we can’t help but succeed.”
On Friday, April 28, Rick Kline Sr. will be presented with the Albert W. Moore Leadership Award at the 2023 MFG Meeting, powered by AMT and in partnership with NTMA, which will be held April 26-28 in Phoenix, Arizona. Register to engage with industry peers and attend the award reception dinner and/or dance at MFGmeeting.com.